The Sydney Food and Wine Fair is an event which marks the end of the Sydney International Food Festival for another year and is also for a great cause, with proceeds of the event going towards the Aids Trust of Australia. It was a great event last year with high-end restaurants like Quay and Guillaume at Bennelong offering up some of their signature dishes as well as lots of freebies, so I was definitely looking forward to it this year.
It was a hot day so we were so glad to see the colourful Ben and Jerry’s van parked inside Hyde Park, with people scooping up some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream for the masses. The queue was pretty long but it was worth the wait :)
The flavour that they had when we lined up was Strawberry Cheesecake, and it was so cool and refreshing, with bits of cheesecake crumb and strawberry chunks mixed into the ice cream. Sadly these were the only freebies we saw on the day and as we walked around the stalls to check out what was on offer there seemed to be less food stalls than last year as well, which was a little disappointing.
To purchase food and drink items from the stalls you have to buy coupons which come in a sheet of 5 at $19 per sheet, which was noticeably more expensive than last year ($15 per sheet). It all goes to the Aids Trust though so it’s for a good cause! Having walked around the fair we made a beeline for the Tabou stall after purchasing our coupons to get a plate of their chicken liver pate with toasted baguette. We were just at the front of the line when they announced that they had sold out of their dish! Ohs nos…
Oh well, moving on we went over to the Four in Hand Dining stall which offered a plate of “cured salmon with baby fennel and Chantilly cream”. Well, that’s at least what the girl standing at the front of the stall told me, though I think it was actually creme fraiche with some dill in it. The fennel wasn’t so great to eat since the stalks were terribly stringy and chewy, but the salmon with the creme fraiche was fresh and the perfect dish for a hot day.
Yeah, if you haven’t noticed I love raw fish so it’s no surprise that I also chose the yellowfin tuan sphere from Selah restaurant. This was probably the most interesting and my favourite dish of the day with cubes of bonito cured snapper marinated in mustard miso formed into a ball, and a paper-thin slice of yellowfin tuna wrapped around it. The softness of the fish was countered by the crisp shavings of deep fried apple, fennel and microherbs, as well as the slight chewiness of the shiitake mushrooms.
With only 4 coupons left, we headed over to the other side of Hyde Park. We spotted the words “slow cooked oxtail” at Alio Restaurant so 3 coupons were handed over and in exchange we got a fresh bowl of orecchiette pasta with slow cooked oxtail ragu. It could have done with slightly more oxtail but the dish was rich and flavoursome, with the pasta cooked to a perfect al dente.
One coupon left to spend and we set our sights on dessert. There were all sorts of sweets and pastries on offer at the Bourke St Bakery and Central Baking Depot stalls, and the colourful meringues at Central Baking Depot caught Sir D’s eye.
Our last coupon was well spent on a chocolate meringue. The meringue was crisp with the slightest bit of soft meringue in the centre, and liberally dusted with cocoa powder. Yes it crumbled everywhere, and yes we got cocoa powder all over our lips, but that’s what makes it so fun to eat.
Although the event seemed to be smaller than last year, there was still a great turnout and some delicious food to be had. We also bumped into Gianna and Demos from The Empty Fridge – hi guys! If you haven’t been to the Sydney Food and Wine Fair before, there’s always next year and it’s a great way to enjoy some quality dishes while supporting the Aids Trust of Australia.
The Sydney Food and Wine Fair runs annually as part of the Sydney International Food Festival. Check out the Aids Trust of Australia website for more information.